As the entire St. Louis Cardinals
Nation knows by now, the club has come to terms with free agent outfielder Matt Holliday and his agent Scott Boras on a seven-year, $120 million contract that
includes a full no-trade clause and $2 million per year deferred. There is an eighth year that vests at $17
million if Holliday finishes in the top ten in the National League Most Valuable
Player Award voting in the seventh year or a $1 million buyout. It is largest contract in team history
and potentially longest.
This information comes from Sports
Illustrated’s Jon Heyman, who first broke the story and has shown in the past to
be closely linked to information flow from the Boras camp, augmented with data from the AP and Buster Olney of ESPN.
Bay recently received a four-year, $66
million contract from the Mets, it established an annual amount target of $16.5
million per year for Boras and Holliday to exceed. With the $17
million per year flat deal, they achieved that without
gouging the Cardinals. With the deferred money, the present day annual value actually drops to $16 million, reports the AP.
leaves the club open to question is the number of years given, either seven or
eight. On one hand, $17 million for a 36- or 37-year-old outfielder seems risky.
On the other hand, what kind of player will $17 million fetch on the open market
in seven years?
For a different perspective on a
widely repeated story and for posterity, following is a synopsis of some of the
key events of Holliday’s story over the last two years and the Cardinals’
interest in him over at least the last 18 months, leading up to Tuesday’s news.
It is by no means complete nor does it necessarily indicate which news source
broke each item, but offers a broad view of the various twists and
The Matt Holliday-St. Louis Cardinals Chronology: 2008-2010
1/5/10: Heyman breaks news of
finalization of the seven-year, $120 million deal. Holliday appears on ESPN
Radio shortly after and confirms.
1/4/10: Joe Strauss of the Post-Dispatch reports all principals
including Holliday (briefly) met over the weekend in Austin, Texas. A deal is close. Could be anywhere
between five and eight years.
12/30/09: FOXSports.com’s Tracy
Ringolsby reports the Orioles offered Holliday eight years, $130 million
guaranteed. Multiple sources, including Baltimore GM Andy MacPhail immediately
deny the rumor. The story also said the Cardinals offered an eight-year deal that could be worth up to $140 million. The terms finally announced could reach $136 million.
12/29: The Mets, Yankees and
Giants reaffirm through various channels they will not pursue
12/24: The Boston Herald says the Red Sox have not
closed the door on re-engaging with Holliday.
12/22: Yankees GM Brian Cashman
tells MLB.com his club will not go with a high-end left fielder in 2010.
12/21: MLB.com reports the Red Sox
offered Holliday five years, $82.5 million, which was turned down, before giving
pitcher John Lackey the same amount.
12/17: FOXSports.com reports that
interested in Holliday but is not expected to be able to afford
12/16: Heyman reports the Mets
plan to talk to Holliday because Jason Bay wants six years and they won’t go
beyond four or perhaps five.
12/15: ESPN’s Buster Olney reports
the Cardinals plan to stick with their five-year offer.
12/11: The P-D reports the Cardinals have
made an offer to Holliday. GM John Mozeliak is said to be expecting a reply within 48 hours and
may move on if not resolved by the middle of next week.
12/10: In the big stretch
department, the Boston Herald reports
Red Sox pitching coach Rick Farrell used to be Holliday’s babysitter and coached
for his dad at Oklahoma State.
12/9: Agent Scott Boras ties
Albert Pujols’ Cardinals future to that of Holliday, a claim denied by the
first baseman and club.
12/8: The P-D reports a Mozeliak-Boras meeting at
the Winter Meetings did not produce an offer.
12/2: The Cardinals offered
Holliday arbitration. He declined as expected.
11/30: FOXSports reports the Red
Sox now prefer Holliday over Bay.
11/22: MLB.com reports the Red Sox
will only pursue Holliday if they are unable to re-sign
11/19: MLB.com quotes Giants GM
Brian Sabean as saying he does not expect his team to pursue Bay or
11/17: Bill DeWitt, Jr. tells the
P-D that the team will compete for
Holliday but would not be the highest bidder if a big market team gets
11/17 The LA Times quotes Angels GM Tony Reagins
as saying his team was not in the running for Holliday.
11/16 FOXSports quotes a source
close to Holliday that he is not inclined to give the Cardinals preferential
11/10: FOXSports reports the
Cardinals chances of retaining Holliday are growing increasingly
11/5: Holliday officially filed
for free agency. Strauss reports there have been discussions of a six-year, $96
10/21: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports the
Braves are unlikely to pursue Holliday.
10/21: Boras labels Holliday and
Mark Teixeira “blue collar superstars”.
10/20: Newsday reports the Mets and Yankees are
at the top of Holliday’s preference list. Heyman adds the Dodgers, Angels and
10/09: Holliday’s error with two
out in the ninth opens the door for the Dodgers to come back to take Game Two of
the NLDS. The Cardinals had posted an NL-best .600 regular season record (39-26) after his arrival.
9/24: Heyman reports Holliday will
be seeking a deal in the range of Teixeira’s eight-year, $180 million deal with
the Yankees from the previous winter.
8/28: ESPN’s Jayson Stark quotes a
rival GM as saying the worst thing the Cardinals could do is re-sign Holliday as
it would preclude them from being able to keep Pujols, Chris Carpenter and/or
Adam Wainwright once their contracts expire.
7/28: Holliday says he is in no
hurry to discuss a long-term contract.
7/24: The Cardinals acquire
Holliday and $1.5 million from Oakland for Brett Wallace, Clayton Mortensen
and Shane Peterson. Holliday joins the team in Philadelphia from New York and starts his first game in left
7/23: Ken Rosenthal says the Cards
only have mild interest in Holliday while Heyman says Tony La Russa really wants
7/16: Phil Rogers of the Chicago Tribune reports the Cardinals
are asking the A’s about Holliday.
July: A number of teams are
reportedly interested in Holliday, including the Giants, Tigers, Braves and Red
6/30: Rosenthal says the Cardinals
about Holliday before acquiring Mark DeRosa.
1/23/09: The San Francisco Chronicle reports Holliday
is working out with Oakland teammate Bobby Crosby under the
direction of Mark McGwire. Boras later blames Holliday’s early-season
hitting troubles on adjustments to Holliday’s leg kick that McGwire
11/11/08: Oakland acquires Holliday from Colorado for Huston Street,
Carlos Gonzalez and Greg Smith. Speculation immediately begins about Oakland’s interest in
trading Holliday prior to free agency.
11/8/08: Rosenthal reports the
Cardinals have offered the Rockies Ryan Ludwick, Skip Schumaker and Mitchell Boggs for Holliday.
11/7/08: Matthew Leach of MLB.com
reports the Cardinals are the favorites to acquire
11/6/08: Heyman reports the
Rockies offered a guaranteed $68 million over four years, plus an option that
could bring it to $85 million, and that “isn't half of what Holliday may get as
a free agent after 2009”. After the trade, Colorado GM Dan O’Dowd said he
offered seven years, $107.5 million that past spring.
11/5/08: Holliday says he wants to
be part of a winning team, one that can be in the playoffs every year, not one
where a perfect storm has to come together, alienating many in Colorado.
11/3/08: The Denver Post reports
the Cardinals may be interested in acquiring Holliday via trade. Other teams
mentioned include Washington, Tampa Bay,
the Angels, the Dodgers, Boston and the Yankees.
10/24/08: Heyman reports the
Rockies are shopping
7/31/08: Holliday is not traded at
the deadline after being linked to a number of teams, including Philadelphia, the Mets, the Angels, Kansas City and the A’s
7/1/08: Ringolsby, then with The
Rocky Mountain News, mentions the Cardinals’ interest in acquiring Holliday.
This is the first reference to St.
Louis and Holliday I can find.
1/22/08: Regarding a long-term
deal with Colorado, Holliday tells the Denver Post. "I am not looking for top
years and top dollar. But they have to be in the
1/18/08: Holliday and the
Rockies agree to a two-year, $23 million
contract, avoiding arbitration and covering his final two seasons prior to free
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